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  • Frau steht mit dem Rücken zur Kamera am Strand und hält einen Kaffee in der Hand

    Researching Loneliness

    Prior to the pandemic, 14% of people living in Germany felt lonely at least every once in a while. This figure had risen to 42% in 2021. Before Covid, loneliness mainly affected people over the age of 75 years, women, people with a low income and low educational status, people with a migration background, and unemployed people. Today, loneliness is more widespread, affecting more and more young people and couples with children, among others. Social differences, such as income, play less of a role in the experience of loneliness than before.

    “Living in Germany” provides the data for a broad initiative of the German government, the “Strategy against Loneliness.” The aim is to increase knowledge about loneliness, thus finding pathways to provide prevention and relief. Loneliness is associated with high health risks: If it persists over a longer period of time, it promotes both mental and physical illnesses. It leads to less life satisfaction and a lower general sense of well-being. People suffering from loneliness are more likely to have depression and sleep problems, alongside an increased risk of coronary heart disease, strokes, or heart attacks.

    Further information

    Kompetenznetzwerk Einsamkeit: Epidemiologie von Einsamkeit in Deutschland (pdf)

    Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend: Wissen zu Einsamkeit vertiefen

    National Geographic: Die Vermessung der deutschen Einsamkeit

    All results in the overview

    Image by Pexels from Pixabay

  • Two women and a man sit in front of computer monitors.

    Refugee employment rates are on the rise

    The integration of refugees into the labor market is regularly examined using data from “Living in Germany”. A recent study took a closer look at people who came to Germany between 2013 and 2020. The result: by 2020, the proportion of people in employment had risen significantly – to 55% for men and 17% for women.

    In addition, the proportion of those working as skilled workers increased, while the proportion of employees in unskilled jobs stagnated on average after three years. Increasingly, refugees are joining their company as skilled workers or switching to employment as skilled workers.

    However, there are still major differences between the sexes. Refugee women still perform much more unpaid care work than men, which inhibits their entry into the labor market and their chances of advancement. In addition to childcare and housework, care work also includes repairs and errands. Researchers found that if both partners in a couple with a refugee background are employed, the division of care work is more equitable. The so-called “gender care gap” (i.e., the gap in care work) is smallest when the woman has a higher professional position than the man. It is also smaller if the woman works at least as many hours as her partner. “Employment is the engine of equality,” stresses Prof. Dr. Cornelia Kristen, researcher in the research area of migration and integration at the Socio-economic Panel and professor at the University of Bamberg.

    Further information

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Geflüchtete in Deutschland immer häufiger erwerbstätig – auch als Fachkräfte

    SPIEGEL Online: Immer mehr Geflüchtete arbeiten

    Süddeutsche Zeitung: Viele Unternehmen erkennen oft nicht die Fähigkeiten, die zugewanderte Menschen mitbringen (for subscribers)

    All results in the overview

    Foto by Arlington Research on Unsplash

  • Drei Frauen stehen gemeinsam und lachen.

    Upward Trend in Mental Health

    Between 2002 and 2020, the data show a general upward trend in mental health in Germany, in line with economic growth. Mental health declined significantly during the financial crisis of 2009 and the first year of COVID. When people fear job loss or economic crisis, their mental health clearly suffers.

    Social inequalities also play a major role: women’s mental health was consistently worse than men’s. University graduates had better mental health than people without a university degree, and non-migrants had slightly better mental health than migrants.

    „Politicians need to take this more fully into account in their decisions. The costs of poor mental health are enormous and widely underestimated,” says Dr. Daniel Graeber, author of the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

    Further information

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Soziale Ungleichheiten spiegeln sich in der psychischen Gesundheit

    DIE ZEIT: „Menschen überschätzen, wie glücklich Reichtum macht“ (Interview with Daniel Graeber), for subscribers

    All results in the overview

    Foto by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 from Unsplash

  • zwei Migrantinnen sitzen an einem Tisch mit Stift und Papier und lachen

    Improved employment prospects

    Refugee women have a much harder time on the German labor market than refugee men – although their chances have improved over the years. This is shown by a new evaluation of the study “Living in Germany,” for which protection seekers who arrived in Germany between 2013 and 2019 were surveyed.

    According to the study, the employment of refugee women has increased but remains low compared to men. While five percent of working-age women surveyed reported having a job in 2017, nearly 13 percent did so in 2020. “Women are slowed down by several factors,” says SOEP migration expert Adriana Cardozo, who analyzed the data. For example, they lack education and language skills. And traditional gender roles also played a role.

    Encouragingly, however, the number of young women participating in educational programs has more than tripled over the years. The number of women with intermediate and good language skills is also growing steadily.

    “Women with refugee experience can make a contribution to compensating for the labor shortage in Germany,” emphasizes Adriana Cardozo. The expansion of integration and language programs is a prerequisite, she said. These should be even better tailored to the needs of women, for example by offering childcare options.

    Further information

    Handelsblatt: Untersuchung: Fortschritte bei Arbeitsmarkt-Chancen geflüchteter Frauen

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Employment opportunities of refugee women in Germany are improving despite starting at a disadvantage

    All results in the overview

  • Menschen mit verschiedenen Hautfarben tragen eine Maske

    Migration and Covid-19

    By the end of October 2021, more than four million people in Germany had been infected with Corona. In order to be able to investigate possible differences in infections and vaccinations between people with and without migration experience, the antibody study “Corona Monitoring bundesweit” (RKI-SOEP-2) was conducted. All participants of the survey “Living in Germany” 2021 were invited to participate in the antibody study.

    At the time of the survey in October 2021, most of the people in Germany had already come into contact with the spike protein of the Corona virus at least twice through vaccinations and/or infections, i.e. were already immunized. The proportion of those who had already come into contact with the virus at least twice was higher among persons without migration experience than among persons with migration experience (90 versus 82 percent). This difference is due to the higher vaccination rate among persons without migration experience. In addition, persons with migration experience had already contracted Corona twice as often as persons without migration experience (8 versus 4 percent).

    In their research report, the two researchers Dr. Manuel Siegert (BAMF-FZ) and Laura Goßner (IAB) show that the difference in the frequency of infection is not due to the migration experience per se, but to the different life circumstances, such as the residential, professional and family situation. For this reason, the researchers recommend that the respective living conditions of the group of people to be protected be taken into account when adopting protective measures and health campaigns.

    The RKI-SOEP-2 study was conducted jointly by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin), the Research Center of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF-FZ) and the Institute for Employment Research (IAB).

    Further information

    Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge (BAMF): Studie zum Infektionsrisiko für COVID-19-Erkrankungen

    All results in the overview

  • Kinder in Klassenraum schauen zur Tafel mit dem Rücken zur Kamera.

    Unemployment: long-lasting effect on children

    Parental unemployment represents a major financial, social, and psychological burden for the entire family. In fact, it is remarkable how long and how strongly children are affected by unemployment. An analysis of study data shows that if, for example, the father of children between the ages of 6 and 9 is unemployed, they are 30 percent less likely to finish school later with a (technical) high school diploma. They are also less likely to graduate from university.

    Despite the large time gap between primary school age and the last school-leaving certificate, the children’s educational path is strongly influenced by their parents’ unemployment. “It therefore stands to reason that the intergenerational consequences of unemployment are long-lasting, intensify over the years, and thus persist into adulthood,” says Prof. Dr. Felix Weinhardt from DIW Berlin, “Children must receive more support in order to avoid the long-term effects of parental unemployment.” Currently, however, children’s educational success still depends highly on their parental home.

    Further information

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Arbeitslosigkeit der Eltern von Grundschulkindern beeinträchtigt deren Bildungserfolg nachhaltig

    All results in the overview

    Image by Taylor Flowe from Unsplash

  • Frau mittleren Alters zeigt einer älteren Frau etwas auf einem Smartphone

    The Gender Care Gap

    Childcare, housework, and eldercare—all these domestic tasks are still done primarily by women. In Germany, women perform about one and a half times as much unpaid care work as men according to results of a recently published study based on data from “Living in Germany.”

    Between the ages of 35 and 39, women take on more than twice as much care work as men—and that, in turn, affects their income. DIW researcher Clara Schäper, who worked on the study, says: “Although the amount of care work begins to level out somewhat around the age of 40, the gender care gap has long-term effects on income inequality.” In fact, women in Germany have 18 percent lower hourly wages than men.

    Women spend more time on childcare in particular: Middle-aged women spend around four hours more per day looking after children than men. When it comes to housework, women spend around one hour more than men, but the difference increases with age. The amount of time spent caring for relatives increases with age, but remains significantly lower overall than time spent on housework and childcare.

    Further information

    Tagesspiegel: Kinderbetreuung, Hausarbeit und Pflege: Sorgearbeit ist weiterhin Frauensache

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Gender Care Gap and Gender Pay Gap Increase Substantially until Middle Age

    Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

    All results in the overview

  • Zwei Mädchen halten eine ukrainische Flagge ans Fenster

    One year after the start of the war: How are the refugees from Ukraine doing?

    How are the Ukrainians who have fled to Germany since the war began? A representative survey conducted as part of “Living in Germany” provides answers. According to the survey, it is mainly younger women and mothers with children and young people who have found protection in Germany. Most refugees have a high level of education: 72% of adults have a tertiary, mostly academic, education. 17 percent are in employment. And a high proportion (nearly 80 percent) plan to take up gainful employment in Germany.

    The researchers see these developments as a positive sign. Nevertheless, major challenges remain. For example, they say, mental well-being, especially among children and adolescents, is lower compared to other age peers in Germany. “We need to provide Ukrainian refugees with sufficient psychosocial counseling and care,” says Sabine Zinn, vice director of SOEP. The survey is a joint project of the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB), the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF-FZ) and the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) at DIW Berlin.

    Further information

    DIW Berlin: Wie es den Geflüchteten aus der Ukraine in Deutschland geht

    All results in the overview

  • Frau steht an einem Pult und hält einen Vortrag

    Women in Management

    Women still make up just one in seven of all board members in Germany’s large corporations. But the good news is that women are catching up. Today, women are being promoted at least as often as men—if they’re working full-time. And in some companies, women’s chances of promotion are even higher. These findings came from a study by Berlin sociologist Katja Schmidt based on data from Living in Germany.

    According to the study, women are being promoted more often than they used to be, while men are being promoted less often. Looking solely at full-time employees, men and women are virtually tied: According to recently released data from 2020, around 7 percent of both men and women hold management positions. “But women are significantly less likely to work full-time than men, which again reduces their overall chances of being promoted to management,” says sociologist Katja Schmidt.

    Further information

    Frankfurter Allgemeine: Fortschritt für die Frauen (for subscribers)

    All results in the overview

  • Schöne brünette Frau in einem Hundezahnkaromantel an einem regnerischen Tag zu Fuß durch die Stadt

    Refugees from Ukraine feel welcome in Germany

    Since February 24, 2022, more than one million people from Ukraine have fled to Germany alone. Many of them are now actively participating in life in this country. This is shown by the first representative survey on the living situation of Ukrainians who have fled to Germany, which was conducted as part of the “Living in Germany” study. According to the survey, 17 percent of the refugees are already employed, half are attending a language course and 60 percent live in their own apartment. The refugee children attend schools and some also daycare centers. While most Ukrainian refugees plan to stay in Germany only temporarily, a quarter would like to live here permanently.

    The vast majority of respondents (76 percent) felt “fully” or “mostly” welcome in Germany upon arrival. Their intentions to stay, on the other hand, vary widely: 34 percent want to leave Germany after the war ends, 26 percent want to stay in Germany forever, 13 percent want to stay for several years or less, and 27 percent cannot yet make a statement. “Many refugees are currently still unsure whether they want to live permanently in Germany,” says Prof. Dr. Sabine Zinn, vice director of SOEP, who worked on the study. “However, we assume that the number of those who want to stay will increase if the war continues for a long time.”

    The survey is a joint project of the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB), the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF-FZ) and the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) at DIW Berlin.

    Further information

    ZEIT Online: Jeder vierte Ukraine-Flüchtling will dauerhaft in Deutschland bleiben

    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: Die meisten fühlen sich willkommen

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Ukrainian refugees in Germany: Fleeing, arriving and living

    All results in the overview

  • Zwei junge Männer unterhalten sich

    Good language skills also depend on the personality

    Refugees often don’t have an easy start to their new lives – partly because they lack language skills. How well and quickly they can acquire the language of their new home also depends on their personality. This is shown by data from the study “Living in Germany,” which Yuliya Kosyakova from the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) and Marie-Christine Laible from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) analyzed.

    According to the study, personality traits such as openness to new experiences, conscientiousness, readiness to take risks, locus of control, and also resilience contribute to people achieving good language skills. If, on the other hand, someone is particularly agreeable or neurotic, this has little influence. Personality traits are particularly relevant when it comes to verbal communication skills, the researchers write. This is less the case when it comes to writing and reading skills.

    Further information

    Kosyakova, Yuliya, and Marie-Christine Laible. 2022. Importance of Personality Traits for Destination-Language Acquisition: Evidence for Refugees in Germany. International Migration Review, 0 (0). (

    Photo Anna Vander Stel, Unsplash

    All results in the overview

  • Mädchen sitzt mit hochgezogener Kaputze an Mauer gelehnt

    New insights on poverty in Germany

    Poverty in Germany has risen significantly over the last decade. A study has examined the connection between poverty and social participation in Germany using data from “Living in Germany.” According to the study, poor people not only have less income and assets, but also acquire fewer educational skills and work under poorer working conditions. They live in smaller housing and have poorer health.

    The various impairments mean that poor people can only participate in society to a limited extent. Persistently poorer people also state that they are significantly less satisfied with their lives than the average population.

    The authors of the report, Dr. Dorothee Spannagel and Dr. Aline Zucco, point out that the report relies on data up to and including 2019. Since then, rising energy prices and high inflation are likely to have exacerbated the situation for poorer people.

    Further information

    Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut (WSI) der Hans-Böckler-Stiftung: Arm und ausgeschlossen: Armut schränkt gesellschaftliche Teilhabe stark ein, Krise verschärft Problem |WSI-Verteilungsbericht 2022 as full text (pdf) Armut gefährdet die Demokratie

    All results in the overview

  • Frau Verpackt Kleidung in Kunststoffkisten

    Donating money despite low income

    Many people in Germany donate money to social, religious, cultural, and charitable causes.

    Who donates how much, and how does donation behavior change over time? Prof. Jürgen Schupp from the Socio-economic Panel (SOEP) investigated these questions. Differences emerged between East and West, men and women and, not least of all, between people with low and high incomes: High-income households account for 37 percent of total donations in Germany, but low-income households donate more relative to their available annual income.

    The results of this year’s survey will show how donation behavior in Germany is changing in a phase of high inflation and rising prices.

    Further information

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Ärmere Haushalte spenden anteilig am verfügbaren Einkommen mehr als einkommensstarke Haushalte

    DIE WELT: Ärmere sind oft großzügiger als Reiche (Video)

    Der Tagesspiegel: Trotz geringer Rücklagen: Ärmere Haushalte spenden mehr als reiche

    All results in the overview

  • Mann steht auf einem hohen Berg und schaut zur Sonne

    How we grow

    Major life events like getting married, having a baby, or starting to work are widely believed to shape or even change people’s personalities. Researchers analyzing data from the study “Living in Germany” have found that this is only partly true.

    Marriage, for example, does not make people as happy as one might think. The “honeymoon phase” ends after about a year, and spouses end up being approximately as satisfied or dissatisfied as they were before. Separation, on the other hand, can have positive long-term impacts in that it makes people stronger.

    And after becoming parents, people’s lives are turned upside down, but their personalities change very little. “In fact, we mature more after our first job change than we do after the birth of a first child,” says Eva Asselmann, Professor of Differential and Personality Psychology at the HMU Health and Medical University in Potsdam, who conducted the analyses. You can find out more in her book Woran wir wachsen (“How we grow”).

    Further information

    ZEIT Online: Der erste Job lässt uns mehr reifen als das erste Kind (for subscribers)

    Book Tip:

    Asselmann, Eva, and Martina Pahr. 2022. Woran wir wachsen: Welche Lebensereignisse unsere Persönlichkeit prägen und was uns wirklich weiterbringt. – Die neuesten Erkenntnisse aus der Persönlichkeitspsychologie: Ariston.

    All results in the overview

    Photo by Gaurav K on Unsplash

  • Teen from behind with head bowed


    Looking back, people often remember their teenage years as a happy time full of new adventures, friends, and freedom. But according to a recent study based on data from “Living in Germany” and another long-term survey in the UK, many teenagers experience this phase of life quite differently. The study shows that life satisfaction declines more between the ages of 10 and 14 than in any other phase of life. The research team, led by psychologist Amy Orben from the University of Cambridge, believes that this may be due to an increase in social insecurity or uncertainty during puberty.

    Further information

    Welt: Wieso die Zufriedenheit im Alter von 10 bis 24 Jahren so niedrig ist

    The Royal Society: Trajectories of adolescent life satisfaction

    All results in the overview

    Photo by Jesús Rodríguez on Unsplash

  • Großvater trägt Enkelin auf dem Arm

    Grandchild care

    Grandparents play an important role in the everyday life of many young families: They play with their grandchildren, take them to the doctor, and help with homework. A recent study using data from “Living in Germany” shows that this has not changed even after the increase in the number of daycare spots.

    According to the study, while 9 out of 10 preschool-aged children in Germany are enrolled in daycare, grandparents provide additional care for one in two children under the age of 6. And grandparents care for between 20 and 40 percent of all girls and boys under the age of 10 on a regular basis.

    When grandparents help with childcare, it’s mothers who benefit most: They feel much more satisfied with their childcare situation and with their free time. “And that in turn has a positive effect on the children,” says Katharina Spieß, director of the Federal Institute for Population Research (BiB), which led the study.

     Further information

    Süddeutsche Zeitung: Nicht ohne Oma und Opa

    DIW Berlin: Großeltern bleiben trotz Kita-Ausbaus wichtig für Kinderbetreuung

    All results in the overview

    Photo by Isaac Quesada on Unsplash

  • Manager explaining with a staff member

    People in leadership positions

    Bosses often have more influence and are held in higher esteem, but they also bear more responsibility and are more often under stress than the rest of the workforce.People in leadership positions often have more influence and prestige but also more responsibility and stress than other employees. In terms of personality, they often differ from others even before taking the leap into leadership. Leaders aren’t born—they develop over time, often starting long before they take on a leadership role,” says Eva Asselmann,

    one of two psychologists who analyzed data from the study “Living in Germany” to find out exactly how people become leaders. Asselmann and her colleague Jule Specht analyzed data on nearly 2,700 leaders and 33,700 non-leaders

    and found that in the years before entering leadership, leaders are more extroverted, open, emotionally stable, conscientious, and willing to take risks than non-leaders. They also believe more strongly that they have control over their own lives, and they place more trust in other people.

    These characteristics gradually return to baseline levels after individuals take on a leadership role. But self-esteem continues to increase in leaders over the long term.

    Further information

    Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: Zur Führung wird man nicht geboren

    All results in the overview

    Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash

  • Older woman sitting at the radiator checking a bill

    Rising energy prices

    The German government has invested almost 24 billion euros in relief measures to counter rapidly rising energy prices due to the war in Ukraine. The money is going toward increased social welfare benefits, reduced gas taxes, and a heavily discounted monthly public transport pass. But are these measures actually offsetting the increased costs?

    As data from the study “Living in Germany” show, the increase in energy prices is placing the most severe burden on poorer households. For the poorest 10 percent of the population, the costs of electricity, heat, and fuel will eat up 6.7 percent of net income in the next 12 to 18 months. These households will receive 3.7 percent of that back in the form of government relief, leaving them with an energy burden of 3 percentage points. leaving them with an energy burden of 3 percentage points.

    For the richest 10 percent of households in Germany, energy costs will only consume an additional 2 percent of net income. They will receive 0.7 percent of that back in government relief, leaving them with an energy burden of just 1.3 percentage points.

    “There is a lot to be said for not reducing the tax burden on higher income earners, and in the medium term, for raising taxes on very high incomes and assets,” says economist Stefan Bach of DIW Berlin, who carried out the study with his colleague Jakob Knautz.

    Further information

    DIW Berlin: Hohe Energiepreise: Arme Haushalte trotz Entlastungspaketen am stärksten belastet

    Handelsblatt: Entlastungspakete der Bundesregierung für hohe Energiepreise: Es profitieren die Falschen

    All results in the overview

  • Junge beim Lernen in einer Klasse

    Parents’ German language skills help determine children’s success at school

    If parents in foreign-language families lack good German language skills, the children have significant disadvantages at school. As the “Living in Germany” study shows, only 15.5 percent of 13- to 15-year-olds from such families attended a high school in 2019. If, on the other hand, the parents have a good knowledge of German, the likelihood of their children attending a high school between the ages of 13 and 15 is almost the same as in families without an immigrant background. This is shown by an analysis of data from the “Living in Germany” study conducted by Wido Geis-Thöne of IW Cologne. He recommends that children be introduced to the German language in early childhood and preschool.

    Further information

    Geis-Thöne, Wido. 2022. Kinder mit nicht deutschsprechenden Eltern. Eine Analyse auf Basis des Sozio-oekonomischen Panels (SOEP). In: IW-Trends, 49 (1). 111-132.

    Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft (IW) Köln: Children with Non-German-Speaking Parents: an Analysis Based on the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP)

    Foto von CDC auf Unsplash

    All results in the overview

  • Junge mit Maske sitzt auf einer Treppe

    Refugees felt more discriminated against during the Corona pandemic than before

    Refugees who arrived in Germany between 2013 and 2016 felt more discriminated against during the first year of the Corona pandemic than before. This was particularly the case when it came to finding a job and in educational institutions, according to a study by researchers from the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) at DIW Berlin. Refugees who lived in eastern Germany, were younger than 40 years old or had poorer knowledge of the German language, as well as employed women felt most frequently discriminated against. The study was based on data collected as part of the “Living in Germany“ study.

    Further information

    MiGAZIN: Flüchtlinge fühlten sich in der Corona-Pandemie stark diskriminiert

    DIW Berlin (Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung): Refugees in Germany perceived higher discrimination in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic

    Foto von Kelly Sikkema auf Unsplash

    All results in the overview